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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

From Rome to London, A preview of this term’s ETB

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I’m sitting outside of Little Nourse Theater Sunday afternoon watching students preparing to audition for Carleton’s student-run theatre program: Experimental Theatre Board. If these students are anything like me, they’re exhausted from a grueling first week of classes and a weekend that was much too brief. If they truly are as drained as I am, every one of these students deserves a Tony for a convincing, energetic, performance. One by one, they pass through the formidable doors of the Nourse Little Theater to be evaluated by fellow students.

An unfamiliar concept to most, experimental theatre ventures to create a unique perspective through unconventional methods of acting, staging, movement, etc. Experimental theatre is generally minimalist in nature, often with a simple set and costume design. Absurdism, extensive symbolism, and social criticism are frequently key elements in experimental shows. “We’re not as experimental as our name suggests” admits ETB president, Caroline Roberts ’16. She goes on to say that experimental theatre at Carleton is a way to cultivate students’ development as thespians by offering ample opportunities for independent acting, directing, writing, etc. Carleton’s Experimental Theatre Board, ETB, and the Student Musical Theatre program, SMT, are completely student-run. This term, SMT and ETB are putting on one and three shows, respectively.

Sam Vinitsky ’16 is directing Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano, a play about a dinner party in London. This particular dinner party is the source of a confusing conversation, comprising a conglomeration of banter, anecdotes, and poems. The Bald Soprano conveys a variety of themes, including the futility of human conversation.

A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room, will be directed by Rachel Hams. The Dining Room is a comedy of manners, a satirical piece which exposes the f laws of corruption within and between social classes. The Dining Room is a collection of 18 interconnected scenes. The show focuses on the fading culture of the American upper-middle class and the shift into a more progressive society.

Alex Berlin ’17 is pleased to be directing Albert Camus’s Caligula this fall. The show centers on the Roman Emperor, Caligula, who is plagued by the death of his sister and lover, Drusilla.

Alex Berlin intends to take liberties with this show, diverging slightly from the typically minimalist-absurdist style of experimental theatre. Berlin plans to incorporate more extensive set manipulation than is typical for experimental shows in his version of Caligula. “I’m going to try returning Carleton ETB to classic theatre” says Berlin.

Finally, SMT is putting on a show called Everything Goes: An Evening of Music, arranged and directed by student Bomi Johnson ’18. Everything Goes is a cabaret-style show, meaning it features a collection of numbers from a variety of musicals. Some eminent examples of featured shows include Les Miserables, Spring Awakening, and Anything Goes.

Auditions are over, and the student directors seem thrilled about the upcoming season and the promising talent that the students have shown today. I can think of a few key reasons to go see ETB and SMT productions this fall: to support your fellow students, to broaden your artistic horizons, to challenge your abstract thinking-capabilities, and certainly not least, to see Sam Orfield ’18 tap dance.

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